Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President Union of American Hebrew Congregations December 5, 2001
We are still reeling from the despicable acts of murder directed against Israelis last week. We shudder at the scope of the viciousness. We note, in horror, that there has emerged among some elements of the Palestinian population a deep and profound desire to kill Jews. It is nothing less than a celebratory feeling of hatred - murder as an act of joy and satisfaction.
To the Palestinians we say: Enough. Yes, we know you are hurting, we know you are suffering. We know there are Palestinians who yearn for peace as we do. But no more excuses. Bloodshed is unacceptable. Terror is unacceptable. Sacrificing children is unacceptable. To suggest otherwise is to remove yourselves from the moral universe inhabited by civilized people everywhere. You cannot have peace with Israel and hate the idea of the Jewish state.
To our friends in the general community we say: this is the time to speak up. If you oppose terror, and if you are a friend to democracy, human values, and the Jewish people, condemn these outrages without equivocation or qualification, and without blaming Israeli in the same breath.
To our government we say: Remember, there is a direct connection between Palestinian terror and the September 11 attacks. Terror attacks against Israel radicalized other fanatics, and conditioned the world to violence, suicide, and death. President Bush got it just right when he said after September 11: "You are either with us or you are with the terrorists." Our message to Arafat must be: abandon terror, or sacrifice any and all ties to the government of the United States.
And to the people of Israel we say? We are in awe of your ability to look ahead, to keep on going with remarkable vibrancy and vitality. Arafat's intent was to discourage Israelis and Jews everywhere, and to advance the Palestinian cause, but in reality he has succeeded only in unifying the Jewish people, in fortifying their determination, and in delaying the peace that Israelis and Palestinians so desperately need. We are fully aware, and we teach our children, that if we do not share in the miracle of Israel our Jewish lives are impoverished Pleas know that you do not stand alone at this dark and difficult hour. We are with you.